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Old 03-24-2006, 04:16 PM   #1
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America's Most Distrusted Minority

atheists.

[q]Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (3/20/2006) -- American’s increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn’t extend to those who don’t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesota’s department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in “sharing their vision of American society.” Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. “Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,” says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the study’s lead researcher.

Edgell also argues that today’s atheists play the role that Catholics, Jews and communists have played in the past—they offer a symbolic moral boundary to membership in American society. “It seems most Americans believe that diversity is fine, as long as every one shares a common ‘core’ of values that make them trustworthy—and in America, that ‘core’ has historically been religious,” says Edgell. Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

http://www.ur.umn.edu/FMPro?-db=rele...&ID=2816&-Find

[/q]



if different religions demand that their traditions and celebrations be embraced and accepted by the public sphere, isn't it incumbent upon them to emphatically extend the same respect to those who believe in no religion at all?
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:33 PM   #2
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I'm sorry. What athiest holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others?
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'm sorry. What athiest holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others?


why are atheists so mistrusted and ostracized -- why does america fear them? and if they are the recipients of such fear and loathing, why should it be incumbent upon them to tolerate whatever seasonal religious spectacle is in vogue?
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:40 PM   #4
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Originally posted by Irvine511
why are atheists so mistrusted and ostracized -- why does america fear them? and if they are the recipients of such fear and loathing, why should it be incumbent upon them to tolerate whatever seasonal religious spectacle is in vogue?
Fear of athiests? Hardly.

I'd ask, why are athiests so obsessed with Christianity?

More time seems spent trying to silence Christians instead of promoting their own beliefs.
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'm sorry. What athiest holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others?
In the US what Christian holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others? Or for any reason?
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Fear of athiests? Hardly.

I'd ask, why are athiests so obsessed with Christianity?

More time seems spent trying to silence Christians instead of promoting their own beliefs.


do you know many atheists?

do you know any other religions in the US that are more aggressive than Christianity?

i think you should switch "atheists" and "Christians" around in your 3rd sentence.

fear? what else do you call mistrust?

could an atheists ever be elected president? would an atheist ever be appointed to the SCOTUS? how about a lesser judgeship?

truly, we discriminate against atheists in our society.
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
Many of the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.
Is that so? As an agnostic, in many cases I associate blind, fervent religious belief with rampant dumbassism.

Oh, please. I live a more 'moral' life than many religious people I know, and that's without the promise of an afterlife if I toe the line dangled in front of me as a reward.

Quote:
if different religions demand that their traditions and celebrations be embraced and accepted by the public sphere, isn't it incumbent upon them to emphatically extend the same respect to those who believe in no religion at all?
One would think so.
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Fear of athiests? Hardly.

I'd ask, why are athiests so obsessed with Christianity?

More time seems spent trying to silence Christians instead of promoting their own beliefs.
I guess it's the VAC*.

* Vast Atheist Conspiracy.
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Old 03-24-2006, 04:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


Fear of athiests? Hardly.

I'd ask, why are athiests so obsessed with Christianity?

More time seems spent trying to silence Christians instead of promoting their own beliefs.
I would hazzard a guess and say that disagreement with the promotion of religious holidays is more of a between-religion battle, than one involving atheism vs. insert any religion here.
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by indra
In the US what Christian holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others? Or for any reason?
Bingo. Christians feel like they "own" America, and when that is threatened, they cry "persecution." But the lack of state recognition does not mean that holidays have been cancelled.

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Old 03-24-2006, 05:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'm sorry. What athiest holiday has been shut down for fear of offending others?
Analogies are not allowed here. Atheists don't have holidays, just like there's no such thing as "Christians for Muhammad." It's a non-issue.

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Old 03-24-2006, 05:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
More time seems spent trying to silence Christians instead of promoting their own beliefs.
Which beliefs would that be?
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon


Bingo. Christians feel like they "own" America, and when that is threatened, they cry "persecution." But the lack of state recognition does not mean that holidays have been cancelled.

Melon
Yes. I haven't had to cancel Christmas or Easter celebrations just because downtown wasn't lit up with Christmas lights or images of the Easter Bunny weren't displayed.
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
isn't it incumbent upon them to emphatically extend the same respect to those who believe in no religion at all?
The article doesn't really cite any evidence that atheists disproportionately experience persecution, overt hostility, ostracism or other readily quantifiable forms of social prejudice. It certainly suggests evidence of poorly informed, negative views, but I'm not sure that alone constitutes "disrespect" in the absence of evidence of a pattern of uncivil behavior. Which is not particularly likely to emerge since, as it points out, atheists are not generally organized or visible as atheists socially.

I think much of this has to do with the lingering effects of decades of Cold War propaganda equating "Godless..." Soviets with all that is most threatening and destructive to a free and open society. More than once I've had to try to explain to puzzled European visiting professors and students why mentioning their atheism in social gatherings often evoked, not hostility or combativeness, but more generally a startled, uncomfortable reaction that suggested they'd just said something defiant, provocative and in-your-face, when nothing of the sort had been their intent. I think these kinds of irrational associations are where a lot of that distrust comes from. (On the other hand, I've also known some of these same visitors to openly express withering contempt for religious belief and what it purportedly reveals about people who hold it, which I'd likewise have a hard time fully defending--and poorly informed, negative views based on selectively chosen examples plays a part here, too.)
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Old 03-24-2006, 06:42 PM   #15
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Most communists are atheists but not all atheists are communists.

I doubt that this distrust would extend to non-theistic religions.
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